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memri
September 15, 2004 No.
785

Al-Zarqawi's Message to the Fighters of Jihad in Iraq on September 11, 2004

On September 12, 2004, an audiotape of a September 11 speech by Al-Qa'ida leader in Iraq Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi was broadcast by several Islamist websites. [1] A transcript of this speech was posted the following day on those sites. [2] The person who posted the transcript called himself the "Glimmer of the Swords" and referred to Al-Zarqawi as "The Sheikh and Commander of Slaughterers."

Al-Zarqawi's speech is delivered in a high style of classical Arabic. Many of the sentences are in rhymed prose, and the entire speech is inlaid with Koranic verses and poetry. The speech singles out Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi as a primary target. It is addressed to the Jihad fighters in Iraq, and in particular to the foreign volunteers.

The tone of the speech seems to reflect the difficult circumstances under which the foreign mujahideen are operating. Some of the expressions used by Al-Zarqawi – such as "a call for help from the depths," and references to the Islamic nation being in a state of apathy or slumber – may indicate that Al-Zarqawi feels he is not receiving enough support from Muslims outside of Iraq.

Al-Zarqawi opened his speech with praise for Allah and blessings upon the prophet Muhammad, "by whose sword Allah exalted the light of Islam." He then addresses the Islamic nation:

"My nation, the nation of the sword and the pen, why is it that your sword is now broken and your pen has been laid down? You used to be prouder than the stars, and you have now become downtrodden under the feet of the invaders and under the hooves of the usurpers' horses. My dear nation - my words to you today are laden with sorrow. Don't you hear the serpents' hissing as they wind their way in the darkness of your apathy in order to assassinate your dawn? … Let me tell you about our state of affairs, for we are at a turning point, so that you may understand the right course and combine forces, lest we regret, and this is no time for regrets. Both those who are far away and those who are near acknowledge the truth of the tri-partite Satanic coalition of heresy and deceit in the land of the two rivers. The first are the Americans who carry the banner of the cross; the second are the Kurds through their pashmerga forces, under the command of the two collaborators, [Massoud Al-] Barzani and [Jalal Al-] Talabani, which are reinforced by Jewish military cadres; the third are the Shi'ites, the Sunnis' enemies, represented by the Army of Treachery, The Badr Corps - the Party of Satan. [3]

"The traitor Allawi is today their tool, and the lion's share of our arrows are for him, Allah willing. O traitor, spare us your belches, reserve for your own ilk your pomposity … The Americans preyed on Najaf, but is Najaf their real target, or are they preparing themselves against others? O my [Islamic] nation, take some time and ponder; it is not Najaf that they want, it is the Sunni Triangle, [a land of] resolve and high ideals." [4]

He says that America was defeated and humiliated by the Muslim warriors, who are "the brotherhood of Jihad, both Muhajireen and Ansar [i.e., both foreign volunteers and native Iraqis]." [5]

"They are the ones who made the international coalition drink the draught of humiliation, and they have struck them blows that will not quickly be forgotten, and they have taught them lessons which are still seared on their skin, and they are still convulsing from the pains of these lessons - lessons which lowered their flags to half-mast and shook their feet and confused their thoughts until fright wormed its way into their joints, and the worm of despair bored into their bones. It could not be otherwise, for our heroes massacred them, to the point where they saw the cowardice of the American soldier.

"O young Islamic man in Iraq and in all Muslim countries, you who are perplexed and seeking life, you who yearn to come to the aid of the religion of Allah, you who offer your life to your Lord, here is guidance to the right path, here is wisdom and probity, here is the ecstasy of self-sacrifice and the pleasure of Jihad …"

Al-Zarqawi calls upon young Muslims in Iraq and in every Muslim country to join the Jihad in Iraq. He also calls upon the Islamic nation not to be deceived by Western propaganda and by those who echo it in Muslim countries.

Al-Zarqawi calls on the Muslims to rise from their slumber and to unite against the infidels who offend their honor: "Here is the Abu Ghreib prison before you – go ahead and ask it."

"As for you, fighters who came from afar, by Allah, missions of da'wa [the propagation of Islam] have never been a road lined with roses and sweet basil; the price of da'wa missions is heavy, and the price of bringing principles to the land of reality is a lot of torn limbs and blood. The light of dawn shall not be lit in this darkness save by Jihad fighters and shahids. "

Al-Zarqawi warns the Jihad fighters: "Beware of the disease of weariness, beware of preferring [your own] safety, because the consequence of such a [moral] regression is that you will regret it, God forbid. Believe me when I tell you that I do not know anyone who has been wronged or conspired against or denied his deserved rights more than the Jihad warriors and Jihad itself."

Al-Zarqawi goes on to say that the leader of the U.S. is no better than Abu Jahl, who suffered a humiliating defeat and was killed by the Muslim fighters. [6] He advises his audience not to fear the airplanes of their enemies because "Allah is above [their] airplanes and is of greater might."

Al-Zarqawi warns the foreign Jihad fighters "not to be deceived by sugarcoated expressions and false proclamations…" He then goes on to mention a number of great heroes of Jihad, dwelling in particular upon Musa Ibn Nusayr, "the conqueror of the Maghreb and the man who completed the conquest of Spain."

He continued: "Far be it from Allah to let you perish, you who have gone out to fight your enemy, leaving your wives and children behind. He shall never abandon you, you who have abandoned your pleasures and desires and left your families and neighbors, yearning for the paradise of your Lord… As long as you stay on the path of Truth, rejoice. For Allah shall never put you to shame. You shall overcome America, by Allah. You shall overcome America even though [it may be] after a while… It shall remain a mole of shame on the cheek of time…

"This is a call for help from the depths to the lions in Baghdad and Al-Anbar, and to the heroes in Diyala and Samarra, and to the tigers in Mosul and the north: prepare for battle … be alert to what is going on around you… You are facing fierce civil strife, but then victory shall be yours, Allah willing… Behold, the spark has been lit in Iraq and its flames will blaze, Allah willing, until they consume the Armies of the Cross in Dabiq…" [7]

Al-Zarqawi concludes his speech with two Quranic verses: "Oh ye who believe, when you encounter an army, stand firm and pray fervently to Allah so that you may be successful [Quran 8:45];" "Allah has full power over all things but most people know it not [Quran 12:21]."


[1] It was posted, for example, by Al-Qal'ah, an Islamist forum which includes Al-Qa'ida supporters: http://www.qal3ah.org/vb/showthread.php?s=0146179154df42c4a8e36624e5b55ef5&threadid=114851

[2] http://www.qal3ah.org/vb/showthread.php?s=0146179154df42c4a8e36624e5b55ef5&threadid=114899

[3] The Badr Corps (faylaq badr) are the military units of the Shi'i movement, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

[4] The Sunni Triangle refers to a roughly triangular area of Iraq to the northwest of Baghdad, which is inhabited mainly by Sunni Muslims. The triangle's three corners are usually said to lie in or around Baghdad (on the east side of the triangle), Ramadi (on the west side) and Tikrit (on the north side).

[5] These terms refer to the early supporters of Muhammad in Medina, Muhajireen designating those who emigrated from Mecca, and Ansar ("helpers") designating the native Medinan supporters.

[6] Abu Jahl was one of the most prominent members of the Quraysh tribe of Mecca, who commanded the Meccan army in the Battle of Badr, where he was defeated and slain.

[7] A Prophetic tradition ( hadith ), which is often quoted in the Islamic apocalyptic literature, states that one of the events heralding the Last Day of Judgment will take place in Dabiq. The Mahdi will destroy the armies of the infidels that will have assembled in A'maq and Dabiq. The traditional explanation is that these are two places in the area north of Aleppo, in northern Syria. Zarqawi is clearly referring to this apocalyptic tradition.